Which vitamin helps prevent heart disease & osteoporosis?


Just as Vitamin D did in the last couple of years, Vitamin K will soon explode into everyone’s consciousness, and with good reason. Vitamin K helps prevent osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and prostate cancer in particular.

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is not on the radar of most people, yet it is very important for many bodily functions. It comes in two main forms, K1 and K2, but it is the K2 version which seems to be particularly helpful to the above diseases.

Vitamin K1 is most well known for its role in blood clotting, whereas Vitamin K2 is now understood to regulate calcium by keeping it out of the places we don’t want it, like arteries and joints, and putting into the places we do, like bones and teeth.

Vitamin D3 is responsible for helping us absorb calcium, and Vitamin K2 is responsible for directing where that calcium goes. By controlling where calcium goes, Vitamin K2 helps prevent both heart disease and osteoporosis. So taking that calcium supplement without having enough bio-available Vitamin D3 and K2 may be more harmful than helpful.

Inflammation of the arteries is the root cause of cardiovascular disease, which in itself is largely caused by an inflammatory diet that includes too much omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, primarily from the vegetable oils that we are told to cook with like corn oil, soy oil, canola oil etc., along with too much sugar, flour products and processed food. The best solution in my opinion is to stop eating those foods, which would prevent systemic body inflammation in the first place.

Once the arteries are inflamed, the body’s response is to send cholesterol, a powerful antioxidant, to the area to repair the damage. If there is not enough K2, calcium is also frequently deposited at the damaged site, which results in plaque building up in the arteries. Vitamin D3 and K2 work together to prevent the calcification of the arteries from occurring. There are many scientific studies that suggest that increased Vitamin K2 intake decreases risk as well as deaths from heart disease.

Vitamin K2 plays a key role in preventing and possibly reversing osteoporosis. Osteocalcin is a protein that “turned on” by Vitamin K2, and its role is to organize the deposition of calcium and phosphorus into the boney matrix as well as into teeth. If there is not enough K2 around to turn on the osteocalcin, the body can’t properly get the minerals into the bones. Furthermore, Vitamin K2 is also
keeps calcium out of the cartilage at the joint surfaces.

Our primary source of K2 is our gut, as it is made by the good bacteria that live there, so any digestive problems such as ulcerative colitis, celiac disease or Crohn's may result in a deficiency. So might a diet high in processed food, sugar and flour which promotes the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria, thereby crowding out the good bacteria that makes the K2. Broad-spectrum antibiotics would also destroy the gut bacteria making it impossible to manufacture K2. If you’ve been on antibiotics, take probiotics to repopulate your gut with good bacteria. Liver problems may also interfere with K2, due to the liver’s importance in vitamin storage. Also since Vitamin K is fat soluable, very low fat diets make it harder to assimilate.

K2 is most plentiful in the Japanese fermented soy food called natto, but I admit when I took a look at the stuff I could not bring myself to eat it. Looked like brown, moldy soybeans covered in slime. Then again, perhaps if I suffered from heart disease I would plug my nose and gobble it down, as studies show that those that eat the most natto have the fewest deaths from the disease. Other food sources of K2 albeit in much smaller quantities include goose-liver pate, hard and soft cheeses made from raw, pastured milk, pastured egg yolks and butter. K1, needed for blood clotting, is found  primarily in leafy-green vegetables like collard greens, spinach and kale, and a small amount of this K1 the body converts into K2.

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Related tips:
The sunshine vitamin and cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Dealing with inflammation and inflammatory conditions
The three keys to preventing osteoporosis

Masterjohn, Chris On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved www.westonaprice.org

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Copyright 2011 Vreni Gurd


1 Comment

  1. Melodie Kornhauser said,

    June 16, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    Coronary artery disease has a number of well determined risk factors. The most common risk factors include smoking, family history, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, high alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, stress, and hyperlipidemia.

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